STAWELL - Stawell-based Navarre Minerals is the first company to start exploration for Big Copper in Western Victoria.
Navarre, founded in 2007, has commenced its 2014 major search with a drill campaign of 10 - 15 holes at the Eclipse prospect, located near Cherrypool, 60 kilometres south of Horsham.
Western Victoria and in particular the region from Glenthompson in the south, to Natimuk in the north, is set to become a focus for major copper exploration as a follow up to new work on the geological evolution of Victoria released last year by the State Government's Geological Survey department.
Navarre's drilling program was due to start a week ago, but was delayed due to the Northern Grampians fires that flared up a fortnight ago, burning through 55,000 hectares.
The current drilling program at Eclipse is targeting a shallow blanket of secondary copper (chalcocite) mineralisation that is believed to have developed above a larger potential copper-gold porphyry deposit.
A geophysical survey to help outline a deeper primary source to the chalcocite copper has been completed.
Final results from the survey are expected next month and if successful, the next phase of drilling aimed at trying to find the primary porphyry copper source can be designed.
Drilling by previous explorers in the Eclipse area did not recognise the secondary copper zone, with many drill holes stopping short of, or just inside, the mineralisation. Back then, the explorers did not recognise the potential for porphyry copper deposits in the area.
The chalcocite blanket, similar to the Thursdays Gossan deposit 65 kilometres south near Glenthompson, occurs 20-30 metres below the ground's surface and can be up to 45 metres thick.
Drill samples are being logged and scanned on-site using a field portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) instrument. This instrument, which is similar to an x-ray gun, is being used for the first time to assist with identifying economic levels of mineralisation and enables geologists to gain instantaneous feedback.
"We are excited because it was only back in January 2013, a year ago this month, that the Geological Survey of Victoria announced their interpretation for great copper deposits in western Victoria," Mr McDermott said.
"It's taken us this time to gather the geological facts and build our models to get an understanding of what we are dealing with at Eclipse.
"This is culminating in the work programs we have designed and recently commenced. We think we've got a tiger by the tail and we hope that through hard work, perseverance and a bit of luck, we find a big copper-gold deposit."
Mr McDermott said Navarre Minerals is extremely happy to be testing its ideas and concepts as it attempts to unearth a large copper deposit.
"If our search is successful, this will provide a major boost for the region in terms of jobs and revenue for the State of Victoria and justification for the hard work and persistence by our field crews, geologists and the Geological Survey of Victoria," he said.